Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sweet Remembrance

Sweet Remembrance 14 1/4” x 14 3/4”
Sweet Remembrance - the name I finally chose for this miniature.  As I promised here is a photo of the quilt all finished and with a name.  I had a long list of names I thought of or pieces and parts of the suggestions I got from you for names but nothing was quite right.  I really liked the word Cameo but couldn’t quite get it to roll off my tongue with the combinations I had come up with. 

The flowers in this piece are supposed to be Primroses and Periwinkles and when looking up flower names and what they mean the name for my quilt jumped out at me.  The meaning of the periwinkle flower on the web page I found said it meant “sweet remembrance”.  It hit me as the perfect name for this quilt.  Doesn’t that sound pretty? 
I don’t always agonize over the naming of my quilts but do like to choose a name with meaning.  Almost like naming a child or naming a pet…it just has to sound right and fit.  I usually think of the name for a quilt as I am making it so when it is finished I have the name ready but not this time.  Maybe it was because it took so long  to get it done.  I started this quilt way back in the spring of 2009 when I was also making 2 others with the same center basket - to see all three flower baskets click on April 4, 2009.  The other two quilts were finished that spring and given away to be auctioned off for the Nebraska Cattlemen's Ball (raise money to fight cancer) and the Nebraska State Quilt Guild.

I do love the way this quilt turned out but of course there are always things I want to change….want to put that dark purple fabric on the outer edge to pull the dark color to the outside, be a little more precise on the mitered corners, etc.  Think that there are always things I could improve on with every quilt but this one is done and I will work on the next one to make it better I guess.

Now off to start a new project on this damp misty morning.


Note:  The photos are much clearer and sharper when you click on them....don't know why they show up as fuzzy in the blog.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sitting in the Sunshine

Living on a farm, we have cats that live in the barn, shop and other out buildings.  We feed them cat food but they are good at catching mice that would take over if they weren’t there.  It is fun to watch them play on a nice day and the one black and white cat that is only a year old was having fun climbing up and down off of the large round bale recently on a nice sunny day.  Walter, the granddaughters named him, settled down after a while to watch the farmstead from his high perch.  Mr. Cat, the yellow and white one and Darkness the black one were enjoying the sunshine streaming in the large door of the shop.  I whistled and they both looked at me at the same time….lucky, as cats pretty much do what they want, when they want. 

Mr. Cat is a really old cat for being an outside cat.  We think he may be approaching 15.  He was here when John’s parents lived here and they had him neutered so sadly we have no offspring from him.  A lot of times neutered cats are just lazy but that is not the case with Mr. Cat.  We see him hunting and with mice or birds all the time.  When my in-laws lived here they called him Old Yeller but John couldn’t ever remember his name and when we were remodeling the house before we moved in we brought our daughter and granddaughters over to see what we had done so far.  As we drove into the yard he walked across in front of us and the granddaughters immediately asked John what his name was.  Without a pause John just said…. “ahhh…Mr. Cat” and Mr. Cat he has been since then. 

Darkness got her name from a movie.  We had two orphan kittens John was raising in the shop so he named them Ghost and Darkness after the lions in the movie “The Ghost and The Darkness”.  (Scary movie by the way.)  Ghost disappeared after a year but Darkness has been a shop cat for several years now.  She is also neutered as she just didn’t know how to be a mother.  She had about 4 litters of kittens and didn’t take care of them from the time they were born….just wandered off and they died right away.  We didn’t want her to keep having kittens so had her fixed.  Sometimes kittens that are hand raised just don’t learn some of the instincts they should have so mother love is important in the cat world too.

We got Walter’s mother, Olivia named by the granddaughters,  from a gal in town and the kittens we brought home with us all died but Olivia stayed….think the kittens were all sick when we brought them home and very wild so we couldn’t catch them, were supposed to be tame .   Lastscan0001 spring she had another batch of kittens and they sure are pretty and are pretty tame.   The granddaughters were here soon after so again they named them all for us.  John and I kept forgetting what they named some of them so at Christmas “D” made us a cheat sheet using a pink marker and even drew cat faces to show the markings.  She couldn’t see why we could forget their names.  I have kept that near the kitchen window and now think I remember them.  Love her spelling!  Walter is really tame and the others are in degrees tame.  They all know John as he is the one that feeds them….actually he looks like the Pied Piper in the morning as they are close to the house and follow him to the barn as fast as they can go.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Sitting on Red Comfort

I broke down and got a new chair for my sewing machine.  I had been using an office chair that just didn’t fit me and got really uncomfortable after sitting at the machine for a while.  I had stopped in at the Bernina store to check about a new foot I wanted to get and sat in the beige Horn chair while the clerk finished helping someone else.  Wow, how comfy.  The clerk helped me with the foot then said the red Bernina chair was the same as the beige one only made with red fabric and had the Bernina logo on the back.  She told me they had ordered several of the red ones in before Christmas and wanted to sell them out so offered me a great deal that I just couldn’t resist.

Oh -  by the way, I just finished cleaning my sewing room up as we are having company this weekend so it was the ideal time to take a photo.  Doesn’t it look nice?  I couldn’t believe how many piles of fabric, paper, etc. there was  piled on every flat surface plus all the fabric snips and threads on the floor.

The chair was all boxed up so John had to put it together when I got it home.  It didn’t take him too long before it was ready to sit in.

One thing I really like, besides the comfortable padding on the chair is the different ways you can adjust it to fit.  There is a knob on the back side to raise and lower the back rest.  On the right side are three levers for my adjustments.  I can raise and lower the height of the chair, tip the seat forward or backward and another lever to tip the backrest back to fit too.  IMG_1429 I actually turned the photo up side down so you could read the levers and see the cute diagrams on them.

Back to cleaning….my house will look so good when I am finished but hope no one opens one of my closets that desperately need cleaned and sorted!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Name...What Name?

I have this miniature basket quilt bound and ready for a label but just can't come up with a name for it so I need your help.  I don't want to use the words "Miniature or Basket" in the name.  Will show the completed quilt after I get a name decided.

Send me any ideas as sometimes that triggers another idea or combination so I can get this baby named.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

National Quilting Day 2011

Today was National Quilting Day and for me it was a wonderful day seeing fantastic quilts, ukdponCNQAxJWw3AJBeAUQ 420x420seeing quilt related demonstrations and listening to inspiring speakers and spending the day with quilty friends.  My good friend M and I traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska to attend the day that was held at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.  We as Nebraskans are so lucky to have this facility here in our state.  If you are ever in Lincoln make it a point to visit this state of the art quilt study center and museum. 

Back to today…We attended lectures by Nebraska quilters on color, setting in circles, hand dyeing and using panels in creative ways.  We picked up a few tips and enjoyed listening and learning and seeing a few of the quilts made by these talented women.

The special exhibit of the museum on display until May 22, 2011 is called Marseille: White Corded Quilting.  Wow!  That pretty much sums up this display.  Most of the quilted pieces on display were made in the 1700s and were beyond stunning.  The corded channels that are hand quilted are small – 1/8” or so and stuffed with cording and the corded designs are solid across the quilts.  I just can’t even imagine how long it took to stitch and cord them.  This is what the website says about this display…. The first US exhibition exclusively devoted to the French needlework tradition broderie de Marseille, will be shown from November 13, 2010 through May 22, 2011.  “Marseille: White Corded Quilting” demonstrates the qualities that make French whole cloth quilted and corded needlework unique, review the origins and development of the tradition, and describe its influence on quilted needlework traditions over three centuries on five continents.

The photos of some of the quilts on the web page just don’t show the intricate work on these Marseille quilts.  One other thing I want to point out is that anyone can do a search on the the museum website and look at any of the quilts in their own large collection (over 3500.)  You can also sign up to get an email each month with one quilt highlighted.

I digress, as you noticed.  My sister and a friend of hers came down today too so got to hang out with her too.  My friend M that came with me just happened to have a birthday today, was enjoying her day immersed in quilting plus her son that lives in Lincoln came to the museum and presented her with a red rose for her birthday…isn’t that sweet.

Another great thing about today is that I got to see lots of quilters I know that live across the state.  Loved doing a little catching up and seeing these wonderful women today. 

It has been a long day so guess I had better head off to bed and dream of quilters and quilts.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hints and Tips for Coiled Clothesline Projects

First off I want to show you a basket/bowl that my sister made and gave to me.  As you see it is squarish instead of round or oval.  To make it she first made a round center IMG_1381then added pieces to 4 corners to make it square …I think directions for this is in one of the books you can purchase.   You could make other shapes doing the same thing too I would imagine.  I have not made that many items but posted twice before about the coiled clothesline on these blog entries.  March 28, 2008 

 It really is easy like I told you so give it a try.
Yesterday after posting the blog about the things I just made I thought of other things you might like to know if you have not done this before.

* Cotton Clothesline Cord - I don’t know how much clothesline cord it takes to make a project but try to keep at least a couple packages on hand.  I say packages as the ones I purchased before were sealed in plastic and 100 yds. but when I looked the other day at Wallmart it is now wrapped around a black plastic thing and it costs around $2.50 but still 100 yards.  I know you can get one large bowl and probably a few coasters from one package.  This cord has a Pellon interfacing looking center core that is sometimes white and sometimes blue and has a cream colored cotton woven wrapping.  Look at the photos below for a closer look at the cord.

* Fabric – I don’t know how much it takes for a project but measured this morning and a 3/4” strip 20” long covered 15” of the cord.  I always cut it on the bias if I can as the fabric doesn’t ravel and I feel I can pull it tighter when I wrap too.  Like I said yesterday, pattern doesn’t matter, just color so use up that old fabric or cut up old shirts, etc.  (Make sure they are not someone’s favorite though!)  Another thing about the fabric is that some printed fabric looks kind of white on the back and that can show at times so if that is not the look you are going for you might not want to use that fabric.  I keep left over strips in bags by fabric or color and put all left over cord and bags of cut strips in a container ready for the next time.  Another thing about the fabric strips – I like to work with strips that are about 20” long.  The longer ones are harder to flip over the cord when wrapping and end up taking more time to use.  You can use shorter pieces too but just have to glue on a new strip more often - I always glue the start and finish of each strip for about 2" to secure it before it it is stitched.  I usually wrap about 15-20” of cord at a time as that is the boring part.

*Needle – I use a size 90 needle.
*Thread – I use a good regular weight cotton thread but you could use up some of your old thread in this project and it wouldn’t matter.
*Glue Stick – I use the inexpensive kind kids use.
Follow the photos to see how I wrap the cord.  Notice that the starting end is cut on an angle.  I do glue the fabric to the cord for this beginning step and glue several wraps down so it won’t shift when I do the beginning of the coil.  I overlap my wraps by about 1/4" or so.  It is so much easier for me to show the steps with photos than to tell you how to do it.

The next step is the coiling – photos show holding the beginning coil together with the straight pins.  I use a stiletto or the point of a seam ripper to help push the coil together in the center.  You don’t want a hole in the middle of your project.  I zigzag it starting from the bend in the coil usually stitching a couple of times then lifting the presser foot and nudging it forward and repeat until the center is finished.  Remember to take out the pins before you run over them.  After the first bend is stitched just nudge the coil around and start stitching new cord to the center.  You may have to stop and push it forward the first round but after that the feed dogs take over and you just zigzag round and round adding new covered cord as you go.

You may be wondering what the pink thing is on my machine…it is a pencil eraser that has been cut down and goes over the needle screw to give me better grip on it.  You can read about how I cut it down to fit on this post on Jan. 16, 2009.
The next series of photos shows how I splice a new cord on when I run out before a project is finished and you can use up the ends of the cord so there is no waste.  Cut both pieces at an angle and glue together with glue stick - the won't stick together the best but it does help.  I like to also rub the glue stick on the fabric strip for a couple inches so when I wrap it tightly over the join it will not work loose.  After stitching you will never see the join but I would advise not to join on the last round as it is not as stable and could come loose so do your joins with at least one round beyond that row.

One thing I try to do is keep my rows of one fabric in odd numbers before I switch to another fabric if I am trying to do rows of fabric colors.  I say try, as I don’t always do it but it does have a pleasing effect and more balanced look.  Random fabrics look good too - one of the ones I showed in the March 28, 2008 post is random fabrics.  Just looking at the notes I took while eating breakfast this morning and see that I wanted to tell you to use the needle down setting on your machine if you have it as it makes turning easier, especially at the beginning of a coil.

Another thing you might have noticed on the photos is the lint on the presser foot.  This will be slightly linty as you stitch so you may have to clean out the bobbin area more often than just stitching quilt patches together.

One more thing I just thought of...the coil at the ending of the basket.  I figured out where the basket should end and rolled up the cord to see how much it would take for the coil that I stitched to the side of the basket and cut the clothesline at that point.  I wrapped the cord to the end then coiled it up how I wanted from that end and zigzagged the the small coil together.  I then laid it on the basket that I turned inside out and stitched as far as I could one direction then took it out and maneuvered it around to be able to stitch all sides and the leading coil from the basket.  I probably had to start and stop 3 or 4 times before I got it all stitched down, finished and turned right side out.

These items make great gifts – think of matching the colors of dishes to make bread baskets, hot mats or other items for a gift or even for yourself.   It is not an expensive item to make either and just think of all that old stash fabric you could use up!

(Look back to the March 16 post for more.) 


I am trying to add tabs at the top of my blog under my heading and am having some problems.  I figured out how to make a tab but now I can't get the information moved over to it.  I created a tab called "About Me" and wanted to move the information I have on the right side of my blog to that tab but can't figure out how to do it.  Any help out there?

I am trying to clean up the right side of my blog and want to have a photos tab and a tutorial tab too.  What I get is a drafts looking page to type in information not a list making page.  Does this make sense?  Please help me if you know what I am talking about and how to do what I want.  PLEASE!


P.S. I did figure out how to put information on the tab "About Me" to try and figure out how to do one on Tutorial links back to my blog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clothesline Projects

Only read this on the original blog post as it has been pirated.  Look for the link on 3/16/11 on my blog at the following address 
The last two days I have been working on a project other than my mini quilt.  Our quilt guild will be having an IMG_1366auction of small quilts and other items in April so I decided to make a coiled basket, mat to set hot pans/casserole dishes on and 4 coasters.  I haven’t made any coiled items for a while and sure hope someone wants to bid on them.  I plan to bundle all the items together so maybe that will help get a bid.

Of course when ever I work on these the sewing table and floor get to be a really big mess.  I cut  the strips on the bias to help keep them from raveling and they are cut 3/4” wide.  Have my iPod handy to listen to an audio book as I sew sitting on the table too plus you can see my mini sitting behind my machine just waiting for it’s binding.  IMG_1358

To start any of the projects I wrap the tapered tip of the cotton clothesline cord with the end of the fabric strip.  I secure it to the cord by applying glue from a glue stick to the first 2 inches of the fabric.  The strip is wrapped over the end of the clothesline cord then wrapped diagonally down the strip.  As one piece of fabric is finished I  glue the end to secure and the next strip is overlapped and glued to start and wrapped diagonally like the one ahead of it.  When I want to change colors of fabric I just stop one and overlap the new on and keep on in the same manner.  

Now to the stitching…the first part is a little tricky but the coil is started by folding over a short bit and zig-zagging together.  For a round base  the fold is small and if the base is to be oblong to make an oval mat or basket the fold is longer.  I found that if I put a couple of straight pins temporarily into each side of the two pieces I want to stay together and do a zig-zag stitch by turning the hand wheel then do another and another the same way.  I lift the presser foot up and nudge the piece forward for the new stitches.IMG_1359  After this start the rest is very easy, just zig-zagging new covered clothesline to the every expanding coil.

I like to use the open toed embroidery foot so I can see where I am stitching.  For Bernina owners, I tried the #59 foot which is the double cord foot but I just couldn’t get it to work well at all, it kept sliding off and I couldn’t see where it was stitching as it is closed in front.  The zig-zag width should be adjusted to take a bite into the covered clothesline on each side.  The density of the stitch is pretty wide as you don’t want a satin stitch….I am guessing the space between stitches is about as long as the stitch is wide.

After the first fold is stitched the coil is zig-zagged as the covered clothesline is coiled around the previously stitched coils.  The coil should be turning with the new cord being added towards the inside of the machine.  If the clothesline is coiled from the outside eventually the flat piece the is being made will bump up against the machine and you certainly can’t make a bowl or basket this way.  Look at the photo above to see what I am trying to say about the direction to stitch the coil.  This photo was of the basket base.


After the stitched coil base is as large as I want for the bowl or basket the base is lifted as new coils are added and magically the bowl is formed.  The more I tip the base up as I stitch the sharper angle the sides will be. 

The handles are made by lifting the clothesline away from the basket for a few inches while stitching along the previous edge then laid down several inches away and continue stitching it to the basket.  I made a second row after the handles were first formed to make the handles more substantial.  I added the coil to the side to end the clothesline in a decorative way but usually just taper the end of the clothesline cord and wrap it to the end to cover and lay it along the side and zig-zag like the rest.  I like to do a final line of zig-zag stitching around the last coil to secure the fabric that is wrapped that last round so it doesn’t shift and show the clothesline cord inside.  There is no need to tie knots just overlap the stitching when finished or if you miss catching two pieces just go back and re-stitch.

I really enjoy making these coiled projects.  I don’t have to think and they are so easy to make and the best part is I can use up some of that old fabric.  The fabric pattern or designs make no difference at all….just the color is important.  I purchase my clothesline cord at Wallmart in the rope area.  It must be cotton so you don’t ruin your machine by stitching on the firmer cord that would actually be better to use as line put up to hang your laundry to dry.  This cotton stuff would probably not last too long when used outside but it is wonderful for this.  There are books out there with more projects and probably more information than I have given you here so check them out.

Guess that is all…if you have any questions just ask and I will try to answer with what I do or use.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Before Binding

Miniature washed and blocked and ready for binding.  The quilt is approximately 14 1/2” by 15” right now.  The feather quilting really pops now that there are no blue lines on the quilt.
Happy Quilting,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ripping Done–Quilting Done!

Ta-Da…The boo-boo quilting is removed and I have the outside border re-quilted and will be binding this mini quilt soon.  You can be sure that I checked the thread color more than once before I started quilting!IMG_1325

It took me almost 4 days to get the feathers that I quilted all around the border with the wrong thread ripped out.  Of course that was not morning to night working but several hours each day.  I almost had to pick each stitch out individually but I was determined to get it done.  I used my magnifying glasses, seam ripper, and hemostats to grab the threads to get the job done.  I tried to make it less of a tiresome job by watching a good movie or two on TV or listening to an audio book.  Actually I listened to the movies more than watched them.  I can say I did a better job with the machine quilted feathers the second time than I did the first so maybe I should just think of it as practice. 

I soaked the quilt in cold water to get the blue marker out then gently washed and rinsed it.  It is now laid on a towel after blocking it to square.  When it is dry…and I have time I will get the binding on.  I have never done it in this order before so this is new to me.  I usually bind the quilt then give it a gentle wash/rinse then bind it but since there was so much blue marker on it I felt it needed to get removed before I added the binding.  I sure didn’t want to take a chance of getting it set in.  I sometimes press the first seam of the binding with the tip of the iron to help it roll to the back – that is the heat that could set the blue.  I also read somewhere that a quilter blocked her quilts before she bound them – another reason to try it this way. 

PT tomorrow then some shopping if the weather cooperates – we have had freezing drizzle and a few snow flakes off and on today.  It seems like every time I have a PT appointment it is nasty weather or I have to rush home for some reason.  Tomorrow is free and clear so have my list made and my credit card ready!

Until later,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blog Anniversary

It is hard to believe I have been blogging here for 3 years now.  I intended to make an entry on March 5th the actual day I posted my first entry but forgot.

Here is a link to the first blog entry in case you want to see what I wrote back then. March 5, 2008 I just wish I had that Amaryllis yet as it was so pretty, but alas it died last summer.

I have enjoyed telling you about my activities and showing you the quilting I have done plus shared some of the other things that go on around our farm here in Nebraska.  Blogging has been a wonderful way to meet other quilters around the world and I have met many people through my blog as well as reading other blogs. 

Here's to many more years of blogging my friends!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

One stitch forward….One stitch backward, and backward, and backward!

IMG_1321News on the quilting front here is not good, sorry to say.  I was so proud of myself as I had quilted the outside border feathers plus one round of echo quilting.  I worked for several days off and on to get it done so as not to stress my shoulder too much at each sewing session.  It all looked so nice, even with the few slight wiggles every once in a while.  I did find a big problem this afternoon that requires me to rip it all out though.

You all might be wondering what was so wrong that I have to take it all out.  You may have to enlarge the photos to see but I quilted the feathers with the wrong color of thread, plus to add more ripping I did that first row of echo quilting with the wrong color of thread too.  I sure don’t know why I didn’t pay more attention when I grabbed the thread to do the feathers.  The other feathers are the color of the silk thread I used for the echo but instead and on this border I quilted them with the gold colored silk thread.  The echo quilting should be the really neutral ecru silk thread instead of the light tan.  The thread color doesn’t look so different in the photo but in real life it is quite noticeable.IMG_1322

This ripping is going to take a while as the stitches are small (1.8 on my Bernina) and the top thread is silk so breaks if I tug on it too hard.  I am using a bright light and my magnifying clip on lenses to make the job a little easier.  Think this is going to be a TV watching project and may take a while.  I am so bummed as I thought I was nearing the end of the quilting.

Oh well, at least I didn’t get all the echo quilting done plus the fill quilting around it finished before I saw the boo-boo.  The thread didn’t look bad but want the piece to look coordinated with the same threads so it has to come out and be re-done.  Guess I need to think of what I am removing as practice and maybe when I stitch it again it will look even better.

One major good thing about this whole disaster is that I didn't remove my feather quilting design marks.  I thought about spritzing the border with water last evening to remove the blue marks but decided to wait until today and boy am I glad I made that decision!  Remarking would have not been easy so guess things could be much worse. 

Wish me luck and a fast ripping job!



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